Detroit Red Wings' Brian Rafalski Officially Announces Retirement

Detroit Red Wings defenseman Brian Rafalski announced his retirement from hockey at a Wednesday morning press conference at Joe Louis Arena.

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Video: Brian Rafalski's Retirement Press Conference

Detroit Red Wings defenseman Brian Rafalski announced his retirement from hockey on Wednesday morning at Joe Louis Arena. Earlier this week it came out that Rafalski was planning to retire, and he confirmed the news at a press conference.

During his announcement, Rafalski thanked his family, the Red Wings and even the media for all they've done during his four seasons in Detroit and during his hockey career in general. He also applauded the Devils, his first NHL team, for being a first-class organization. He won two Stanley Cups in New Jersey and won another in Detroit.

In total, Rafalski walks away from hockey with three Stanley Cup titles, five appearances in the Stanley Cup final, two silver medals from the Olympics, 79 goals and 436 assists. He had a wonderful career and will go down as one of the top American-born defensemen of his time.

WXYZ's Tom Leyden shot a video of Rafalski's five-minute press conference, and you can check it out below.

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Red Wings' Brian Rafalski Announces Retirement At Press Conference

Detroit Red Wings defenseman Brian Rafalski officially announced his retirement from hockey at a press conference this morning at Joe Louis Arena. Word leaked out earlier this week that Rafalski had decided to call it a career after 11 seasons in the NHL, and he confirmed the news at Wednesday's press conference.

With many of his teammates in attendance, Rafalski explained his decision to retire. He said that the decision was made two months ago with his wife, but he didn't tell his teammates until earlier this week. Rafalski didn't want to be a distraction in the final months of the season, so he kept the decision secret until this week.

Part of the reason why he decided to hang up his skates is because he wants to serve his family and others. He noted that there are more important things than money, and with a son going into high school, that was a big factor.

Rafalski called the opportunity to play for the Red Wings once in a lifetime and applauded the quality of the organization. He mentioned that the Red Wings have never had issues with filling holes, so he doesn't think they will have any problems replacing him.

Rafalski said that the 2010-11 season was "probably the most challenging season of my career, physically, mentally, emotionally." While he is only 37 years old, injuries caught up to him and ultimately played a big role in his decision to retire.

The Dearborn native will finish with three career Stanley Cup rings, five Stanley Cup final appearances, two silver medals for playing for the United States in the Olympics and a total of 79 goals and 436 assists. I'd say that's a pretty good career.

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Red Wings Schedule Wednesday Press Conference With Brian Rafalski

The Detroit Red Wings have announced they will hold a press conference on Wednesday at 11 a.m. (ET). Defenseman Brian Rafalski and general manager Ken Holland are scheduled to be at the press conference in order to "discuss (Rafalski's) future with the organization."

On Monday, reports emerged stating that Rafalski will retire sometime this week. Later, a report specified that the decision to retire will be announced on Wednesday. Holland quickly denied that he was informed of a decision in order to contain the story, but with multiple reports confirming the news it was pretty obvious Rafalski had decided to call it a career.

Now that this press conference has been scheduled, it does indeed look as though Rafalski is set to retire after four seasons with the Red Wings and 11 seasons in the NHL. The press release the Red Wings sent out detailed Rafalski's career, providing another indicator that the topic of the presser will likely be retirement.

The Red Wings' official website will stream the press conference live.

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Brian Rafalski Hasn't Informed Red Wings Of Decision

Reports of Brian Rafalski's retirement may be premature, at least they are if you ask the Detroit Red Wings. The Detroit Free Press' Helene St. James spoke with Red Wings general manager Ken Holland about the reports that Rafalski has decided to retire, and Holland says he hasn't heard anything about a decision being made just yet.

"I know there are tons of rumors out there," Holland told the Free Press. "I do know he’s doing a lot of thinking. I did meet with him at the end of the year. I’ve had conversations with him. For lack of better words, I do know he’s doing a lot of thinking about next year. He’s got to make some decisions. I haven’t talked to him in a week. He hasn’t told me he’s retiring."

Considering there has been talk that Rafalski's decision will be announced by the Red Wings sometime this week, Holland's comments certainly contradict what we have heard so far. Perhaps this is just a case of the Red Wings trying to keep the story quiet until Rafalski gets a chance to make an announcement on his terms, but for now it's clear nothing is official.

When Rafalski's decision is made -- either to come back or retire -- I would expect it to be announced by the Red Wings.

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